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Venezuela's Chavez breaks silence with tweets

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
  • Chavez has been in Cuba recovering from surgery
  • He had been silent for 12 days
  • On Friday, he published a series of comments on Twitter

Havana (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke a 12-day silence on Friday, sending messages via his Twitter account while recovering from surgery in Cuba.

In a series of four tweets, Chavez sent encouraging words to his "soldiers and beloved people" but did not mention the state of his health nor his prolonged absence, which has sparked speculation at home.

Chavez underwent an emergency operation for a pelvic abscess on June 10 during a visit to Cuba, Venezuelan officials said. Two days later, he called Telesur TV explaining that he needed the treatment but was still at the helm.

That was the last Venezuelans had heard from their leader, who has appeared in only one series of photographs after Fidel and Raul Castro visited his sickbed, at an undisclosed location in Havana.

Even his Twitter account had been quiet, until now.

Chavez celebrated the anniversary of an important battle for independence, tweeting from his "trench" that it "hasn't ended! It is every day."

"From here, I am with you in the hard day-to-day. Hasta la Victoria siempre! We are winning! We will win!" one of his tweets said

The opposition has said that Chavez can't legally run the country from Cuba, and speculation has spread that he is suffering from other ailments, such as prostate cancer. Several Venezuelan media outlets have raised the question of whether Chavez has cancer, but no official has commented on it.

Officials in Venezuela have said repeatedly that Chavez's recovery from an operation for a pelvic abscess is "satisfactory."

On Wednesday, state-run TV said the president would be home in 10 to 12 days, citing his brother Adan Chavez.

Cuban officials have been silent about the issue, while state media has repeated the quotes from Venezuelan officials.